Jen Lane earned her first Prairie Music Award nomination at just 17 years old. She got her first Western Canadian Music Awards nod at age 24, but just as she was getting ready to capitalize on her burgeoning momentum, she was sidelined by an accident that left her with a badly broken foot.
If Lane sounds like far more mature an artist than her age would suggest, you can chalk it up to her early start in music. You might also conclude that pregnant women who hold stereo headphones up to their bellies are onto something. Lane’s mother ensured that Jen was well versed in the Rolling Stones before even leaving the womb. Lane began piano lessons in elementary school and took up guitar in grade 8. By her teens, she was frequenting punk rock shows, then coming home and writing folk music ‘til 4am.
Egged on by a supportive circle of friends and family members, Lane recorded a debut album at 16 and earned a Prairie Music Award nomination the following year. Subsequent gigs included playing the Ness Creek Main Stage and opening for an emerging Tegan and Sara, even though Lane was too young to be in the bars. Perhaps most impressively, Lane garnered enough attention from that first record to demand a second one, Injection, released in 2002. Jen continued performing her works at open stages and at events like the Saskatoon Women’s Festival, Winnipeg Folk festival and played for many charities including Salvation Army, Red Cross and the Canadian Cancer Society.
Her “grown-up debut” was 2006’s “Jen Lane”, which was funded by a grant from the Rawlco Radio Group. It earned a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for “Outstanding Independent Album”. Lane was all set to build on the momentum with showcases at OCFF, Breakout West, and SXSW when the aforementioned accident broke her foot so badly it took several medical procedures and countless hours of physiotherapy to repair the damage. She still hobbled to these events to network, but she was unable to maintain any kind of regular touring schedule. She pushed on, and in 2010 another album was born.
It takes a lot to stand out in the crowded world of Americana female vocalists, but Lane pulled it off with aplomb on “For the Night”. The album was nominated for Roots Solo Recording of the Year at the WCMA’s in 2011, proving that her two previous award-nominations were no fluke. The album combines some seriously catchy songs with a laid-back cool that evokes Lucinda Williams and a pure, wistful voice that at times recalls Edie Brickell. The arrangements are classic country, and the production—courtesy of The Odds’ Steven Drake—has a vintage feel, thanks, in part, to a near-analogue recording process. The sound is enhanced by special guests Kevin Kane (The Grapes of Wrath) on electric guitar, John Ellis (Ridley Bent) on pedal steel, Simon Kendall (Stellar Band, Wyckham Porteous) on keys, Sam Cartwright (Stellar Band) on drums, and Drake on bass, acoustic and electric guitars, glockenspiel, autoharp, and vocals. It’s impossible to pick stand-out tracks from such a consistently strong album, but its more unique cuts include “Lonely Cricket,” which possesses an unusual metaphorical lyric, and “Election Day,” whose simple yet profound musings and nod to Elizabeth May sum up many Canadians’ sentiments about the 2008 election
Lane was able to head out on an extensive tour to promote her outstanding new album, however, in the thick of it all, it became apparent that there was one more medical procedure she would need. Lane would eventually take almost two years off of performing for an extensive surgery and rehabilitation process in order to be able to pursue her music to its full potential.
With that journey behind her, Jen Lane is emerging into the spotlight once again. She began her return to the road with an Eastern Canada tour in May 2014, which included a monthly residency at the Cameron House in Toronto, ON and finished off 2014 with a Canadian tour and November residencies in Montreal (Chick Pickin’ at Grumpy’s) and Toronto (Cameron House). With plans for a new album in 2016 produced by John MacArthur Ellis (Ridley Bent, Doc Walker, Be Good Tanyas), Jen Lane shows no signs of slowing down on her rise through the ranks of Canadian singer songwriters.
"smokekiller and JEN LANE are two of the happy finds of SXSW"billsmusicblog
"a strong talent. Jen has hit a depth in her songwriting that people twice her age struggle to find. Her many talents also include a truly lovely voice. One day, we in Saskatchewan will be saying, "I knew her when...."
Sheila Coles, CBC Radio 1, The Morning Edition
"...her self-titled release really is the perfect accompaniment for summer drives, back porches or early morning coffees. It's enjoyable, uplifting and Lane really sets a great tone on this record. Her stories are emotional and engaging, but the music never drags you down. The freedom and enjoyment of extended, foot stomping solos and sing-along harmonies (like on Hold on Strong or Broken Down Train) adds a nice spark."
"You can picture your friends playing her songs and you start to think her stories could be yours and that's why you will listen to this record over and over again."
"Among the real standouts here are offerings from the intense acoustic balladry of jen lane..." chuck molgat, planet s magazine, october 2005
"Jen Lane and Smokekiller are two of the happy finds of SXSW" William Kates, billsmusicblog
"Jen & John" 2014
"For The Night" 2010 (2011 WCMA Nominee - Roots Solo Recording of the Year)
"Jen Lane" 2006 (2007 WCMA Nominee - Outstanding Independent Album)
"Sleepless" 1999 (2000 Prairie Music Award Nominee - Outstanding Independent Album)
2014 MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN (FORT ST. JAMES, BC)
2014 NESS CREEK MUSIC FESTIVAL (BIG RIVER, SK)
2013 MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN (FORT ST JAMES, BC)
2011 WESTERN CANADIAN MUSIC AWARDS (WHITEHORSE, YK) NOMINEE*
2011 GATEWAY MUSIC FESTIVAL (BENGOUGH, SK)
2011 NORTH BY NORTHEAST (TORONTO, ON)
2011 PRAIRIE SCENE FESTIVAL (OTTAWA, ON)
2011 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST (AUSTIN, TX)
2011 CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK (TORONTO, ON)
2010 NESS CREEK MUSIC FESTIVAL 20TH ANNIVERSARY (BIG RIVER, SK)
2010 NORTH BY NORTHEAST (TORONTO, ON)
2009 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST (AUSTIN, TX)
2009 CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK (TORONTO, ON)
2009 LT. GOVERNOR’S LEADERSHIP FORUM (SASKATOON, SK)
2008 ONTARIO COUNCIL OF FOLK FESTIVALS (OTTAWA, ON)
2008 FORGET SUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL (FORGET, SK)
2008 NORTH BY NORTHEAST (TORONTO, ON)
2008 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST (AUSTIN, TX)
2007 WESTERN CANADIAN MUSIC AWARDS (MOOSE JAW) NOMINEE*
2007 ONTARIO COUNCIL OF FOLK FESTIVALS (LONDON, ON)
2007 JUNOFEST (SASKATOON, SK)